Love Is When……

Hey Pumps and Gloss-ers,

Before we jump into “Sex and Love Week,” please congratulate me on completing a Bachelor’s of Science-Business/ Marketing degree. The process was long and arduous, but I enjoyed every minute, even if I had frequent complaints. I want to thank my family and friends for their prayers, support and encouragement. I love you all!!

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When I was a teenager the only “erotica” I could be seen reading was Songs of Solomon.

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.

3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!

4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Songs of Solomon 1:2-4

I have always been interested in erotic literary works. In college, I was introduced to Noire Erotique/Black Erotica. This book is a must have!! This anthology includes prose, poetry and fiction on sex and love. One of my favorites from the book is the erotic horoscopes. (Sidebar: I am not a reader nor follower of horoscopes.) The prose describes how each sign likes to make love and what signs they are compatible with. A fun read!!

Noire Erotique/Black Erotica - Source: Amazon.comDark Eros - Source: Amazon.com

Another Book that I have is Dark Eros. This book is not as great as Black Erotica, but definitely worth the read. One of the poems in the book was written by a high school classmate. I am glad that he was able to parlay his amateur writings into published work.

These books showcase love, specifically, Black love in a more positive light. Many of the popular images (i.e. videos) turn our love into random acts of lust. Yes, we do care for and love each other.

Each book has helped to shape my view of sexuality. I learned that I do not have to settle for the virgin or slut roles. I can be lady and a freak all at the SAME time!! 😉

Let us know some of your favorite Erotica book titles. Looking forward to your comments.

Since I love books and learning, here is my favorite songs, Teach U A Lesson, by Robin Thicke.

For all the lovers in the world, Alicia Keys’ new single, No One, Mr. Carob and I can relate to this song… Good Job, Alicia!!

Hope you are enjoying “Sex and Love Week” as much as we are.

Keep It Sizzling and Sexy,

Sexual Carob

Tie Me Up

I love ties and I love when men wear ties that please my eyes.

When I was a youngster, I used to wish I could wear a uniform to public school. Papa Maven gave me one of his school ties from high school, a lovely purple and silver(white) one. O how I loved that tie!

When I was working at the “Fun Shack” (not actual name of company), there was an architect who wore a knit tie with a plaid shirt. He seemed to wear the tie shirt combo for special business meetings. I always thought that, maybe, he did not have that special lady in his life to help him select some great ties.

Knit Ties. Source: Narrowties.com

These ties should NOT be around anyone’s neck, but these ties would make lovely ladies’ belts or headbands. Never, ever do I want to go on the street and see this fashion travesty. (OK, now I am going to see the ‘hugly” ties everywhere!)

So Mr. Architect should have chosen a tie like this khaki olive tone tie to wear with a blue shirt or a white shirt.

Brooks Brothers Tie - Source: BrooksBrothers.com

I heart the Greens, which is why I am like this tie. This classic option looks great on all men.

Navy Blue/Green Silk Tie. Source: PaulFrederick.com

Nordstrom Silk Tie - Source:Nordstrom.com

A pattern tie with a superb suit/tie/shoe combo can be irresistible. This tie must be matched and coordinated carefully. For example, Mr. Architect could have worn this olive green, soft blue, gold tie (hmm reminds me of MAC’s Quarry Mineralize eye shadow, without the bronze) avec a neutral color shirt.

Ladies, I implore you to NOT let your men pick their own ties. (For the good of the land!) Men can and will run a muck, and get something tres unattractive. Ladies, if I see your men wearing flags, animated characters, other unapproved themes and knit ties, I am going to have to call the Fashion Police… And it will not be pretty at all!! 😉

Keep It Right,

Mix Maven

Counting Up The Cost

I enjoy fashion like the next fashionista. I believe, if anything, fashion is art.

Recently, I decided to subscribe to Vogue magazine. I enjoying looking at all the fashions and, of course, the items I really like are uber-expensive. I could not, in conscience, purchase this cute green clutch in the recent edition of Vogue.

Marie Claire and Essence have a similar “Splurge vs. Steal” concept where the fashion editors compare expensive to less expensive clothing options. In some photos, you cannot tell the difference between the items being showcased. Obviously, when you can see and touch, the perceived comparison will diminish. The Frugal Fashionista and The Budget Fashionista do extraordinary work in creating inexpensive looks from celebrity looks and alerting readers of sales and discounts.

The question I pose to you is, “how are people paying for these luxury brands?” As we all saw in “Sex and the City,” it was not just the rich buying the luxe brands. Carrie Bradshaw, a writer, living in a rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan always conjured up away to get her Chanel and Manolo Blahnik pumps and other luxury designer wares. And I know you all remember the time when Carrie was trying to purchase her apartment from her ex-boyfriend. Miranda asked her where did her money go and Carrie acknowledged that her money went on her back or feet.

Manolo Blahnik Open-Broach d’Orsay Pump - NeimanMarcus.comPrada Suede d’Orsay Pumps - NeimanMarcus.com

I have been reading articles about young girls, 8-10 years old, that want Prada and Gucci. Now, when I was 10 years old, I was not even thinking about getting clothes from the GAP. According to one report, that having luxury items, albeit accessories are apart of being a child today. Even though I studied fashion magazines at the age, I still wanted ESPRIT. (Sidebar: Mama Maven would take me to a local boutique and purchase items for school and church. Of course, she would watch the sales vigilantly.) The troubling thing is that the parents are purchasing these luxe clothing brand for their children and they really cannot afford to do so and live in the blue ribbon district. So what are the parents trying to prove and why can’t they tell the children, “NO!!” Maybe because they cannot tell themselves “NO” either.

We need to refocus and realize that clothes (luxury/haute couture) do not make the person. (This does not mean you have a right to walk around frumpy dumpy.. NOT ON MY WATCH!!) We must be begin to challenge the societal notion of keeping up with the Joneses, who have no money either. We must also teach our children that there is a time and place for everything. When they are making that $200,000 (adjust for inflation) maybe then they can have a closet full of luxury designer wares. (and not if they live in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, West Coast and some parts of the Midwest.) Learn to say “NO” to the children and especially to ourselves.

Live Triumphantly,

Mix Maven


Layers

Layers has been a recurring concept over the past few months: in Photoshop, applying blush, layer cake, and one of my favorite bloggers did a humorous piece on the layering phenomenon in fashion. Then there is my favorite layer-er of all, the Queen of Blending, a super talented make-up artist from Southern California. She uses several different eye shadow shades to create an uber-chic blended look. The naked eye may not be able to detect the layers, but they are there. Because of Q of B, I had to purchase Blue Brown pigment from MAC Cosmetics. Below are samples of her work. Her work is totally AWESOME!!
Queen of Blending Sample - myspace.comQueen of Blending Sample 2 - myspace.com

We are all complicated layers. None of us hold one moniker; we are daughters, wives, mothers, friends, lovers, girlfriends, employees, supervisors, church members etc. For example, my friend SB is a son, husband, father, chef, friend, photographer, entrepreneur (S&B seasonings) YUM-OOH!!!

S&B Seasonings - Source: S-Bseasonings.com

He is also a Regional Men’s Ministry leader (responsible for creating fatherhood initiatives, mentoring programs and even a blog and website) and he still has to time to have a BBQ at his house. He is one of my best friends in the whole world!! ( I will bring the cornbread to the BBQ. Uhm er a make sure to use turkey breast burger patties.. thanks YO!!)

Do not let people define you as one of your layers. You all know I love MAC eye shadows, but I also love politics. (I am too excited about the marathon debate on C-Span) [Mr. Maven, please bring home some popcorn. 😉 ] I am also a student, wife, daughter among other layers.

Discover all your layers today

So Much Better from the “Legally Blonde” musical.

Mix Maven


The SPAN

As a youngster, I watched the Iran-Contra hearings on television. I have always been captivated by government and politics. My dream as a child was to major in Political Science and/or law. Then I realized that I love color and needed to be very creative.

As a teenager, I acquired a strong affinity for Canadian sketch comedies on CBC (that is how I learned about the Canadian government), PBS, NPR, and C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network.) Man o man, do I love the C-SPAN or the SPAN, our term of endearment. My dad and I would watch C-SPAN on the weekends. I was quite miffed when I learned that there was a C-SPAN 3, but the station was not on the local cable channel listings. I am glad Mr. Maven likes C-SPAN as well. When on road trips, we find ourselves listening to C-SPAN on XM between the 2 Amy Winehouse CDs, India Arie, Lemar, Terri Walker and Musiq. One time, we listened to a great program with African-American historian, John Hope Franklin being interviewed by Brian Lamb, CEO and founder of C-SPAN. That was 3 hours well-spent. He told a fascinating story about meeting W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois did not even bother to look up from eating to acknowledge him. He recounted the story later to him and DuBois did not remember meeting him. It goes on…. watch C-Span.com for the rest of the story.

W.E.B. DuBois - Source: http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/96feb/dubois.htmlJohn Hope Franklin - Source: http://library.duke.edu/specialcollections/franklin/images/jhg.jpgBrian Lamb - Founder and CEO of C-SPAN - Source: www.nndb.com/people/ 994/000029907/

C-SPAN is great because the programming is varied: from Senate and House committee hearings, to legislation sessions, symposiums, conferences, lectures, and my favorite Prime Minister Questions. (That is some funny stuff to view.) I love the book fairs. We saw Al Franken get into it with Bill O’Reilly. On the SPAN, We “met” Molly Ivins (RIP), heard Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Cornell West, Rep. Keith Ellison et al speak the truth, noticed that someone’s lawyers last names had my first and last names.

Tavis Smiley, the King of Verbosity, hosts a wonderful all-day State of the Black Union conference each February. The panelists include Black leaders in academia, politics, religion, law, entertainment, and activism. The purpose of the sessions is to create real solutions for problems plaguing the African-American community. Check out Smiley’s The Covenant with Black America and The Covenant in Action.

Interesting to say the least!

I implore in you in these trying times we need to be an aware and educated electorate. We need to stop listening to menial sound bytes and begin to read and learn for ourselves. We must stop confusing being affable with competence.

Live Triumphantly,

Mix Maven


What Not to Wear …. Church Edition

I wanted to write a post about how good the new Maroon 5 album, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” is. I was going to tell you how I love the 80s groove : the synthesizers brought me back. Even how “Kiwi” is reminiscent of the Michael Jackson sound. I was going to remind you to run out and purchase Musiq’s “Luvanmusiq” I was going to tell you that if “Teachme” did not excite you, you needed prayer.

But there is a pressing matter…….

Recently, BD, a teenager at my church, suggested a What Not to Wear to Church fashion show fundraiser. I think this is an excellent idea and I know Stacy and Clinton would be very pleased. Dressing appropriately has long been a problem, and seems to be getting worse. What I find is that people do do not know how to separate club wear from proper church attire. When I was growing up, Mama and Papa Maven made sure we had school clothes, church clothes and play clothes, even separate accessories. We could never mix the clothes. Being adult now, I still subscribe to the theory partially. There are congregants that feel they should “come as they are.” Well, you are supposed to “come as you” to Jesus. (Yes, Jesus is in the church.) At some point, you have to become the new person in Christ, which means putting the old stuff away.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Also Ephesians 4:23-24, “23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

At my church, CG, we have a fashion standard for all rostrum personnel. Each non-elder is given this code in writing and reminded verbally before he or she is to go up front. A male must wear a dress shirt, with tie, and dark trousers (no jeans), while a female must wear dark colors, a skirt that, when seated, covers the knee. A blouse that is not revealing. If participants do not adhere to the standard, they are not allowed to go on the pulpit. Most adults adhere to the standard, but oftentimes, the teenagers do not, which is sad because they are obviously not being taught.

Here are some examples of what not to wear:

Lace Halter Top - Source: VictoriasSecret.comBra Tank Dress - Source: VictoriasSecret.comSource Nordstrom.com

The first two selections are self-explanatory. The third option is a fine line. If you really want to wear this church, I would suggest a shawl. If you have big breasts, save it for your cousin’s wedding.

You may say, “Mix Maven, the items you have selected are obviously not appropriate for church.” Of course, the items are inappropriate, but you will be surprised what I have seen in the pews.

 Nordstrom.com

I like this dress, but unless you are 10 years old, you should not be wearing this dress to church. Once you sit down, your ki-ki (Jamaican for lady business) might be showing. I am sure it will be a great after-five dress.

Here are some better options for church:

Steve Madden Eyelet Sheath Dress - Nordstrom.com

This Steve Madden dress is a classic and I love the silhouette.

Diane vonFurstenberg is another great option. Her ubiquitous wrap dresses are also great for church.

 NeimanMarcus.com

If pants are apart of the accepted attire, I recommend:

 Nordstrom.com pair with  Nordstrom.comorBCBG Max Azria Stretch Poplin Shirt - Source: Nordstrom.com

We have learned that you can be dressed appropriately for church and still be fashionable. Leave the uber-sexy clothes for another occasion.

One of my cohorts, KJ, and I will be doing a seminar on how to dress for interviews. Oh, how that is a problem. You keep us in your prayers.

Dressing for Success,

Mix Maven

Simmer Down Now

My dear friend, Joyful Radiance called me out last week. She referred to me as a MAC junkie. Truth be told, she is spot on. I love MAC cosmetics and Mac (Apple) computers. I was rather perturbed when Steve Jobs announced that there will be a delay in the new MAC OS X, Leopard. I will be finished with all my classes by then, which is probably a good thing because this delay will give me the impetus to sign up for business school sooner than later. Hey discount is my middle name. 😉

Back to this MAC junkie business. My name is Mix Maven and I am a MACaholic. I do not like every product the cosmetic company makes, but I enjoy a lot of the products. I decided to catalog my beauty items on a spreadsheet. I will not say how many items I have, but let’s just say I should be doing make-up artistry on the side.

I believe in self-awareness and I, first, noticed the problem when I found a certain website. This lovely website is a MAC and beauty resource. I have learned so much that I had to go back to the MAC store and purchase all those things that I had missed out because you never know when you are going to see the scary triangle, which means that a regular product is being discontinued. For example, I would never think of buying the Vanilla pigment (oooh that color is divine), Vex eyeshadow (great crease color and can morph into a new color when blending). [Note to self: stay on track, Mix!!]

What I have realized over the years, and especially in this case, saying no or denying myself wants can be the best thing to do. I am not saying we should go forth today and never purchase anything we want again, but I am saying we need to be mindful of why we want to make these purchases. What I know is that I am going to have let the C-Shock color story cup pass from me as well as the special items that will be at Nordstrom because I really want a few items from the RushMetal and Flashtronic color stories. (Note: the operative word few.) I have missed out on several color stories, but what can I do. Sometimes, we have to back away from the proverbial buffet of life because there is always going to be something new and better. Author Amanda Ford (2002) sums it on page 173 of Retail Therapy: Life Lessons Learned while Shopping,

It is so easy to get caught up in the moment, to think that the item you are admiring is the best thing you have ever seen and that if you don’t buy it right away you will never find something like it again….. I found the best thing to do when making any decision, big or small, is to slow down.

Sometimes slowing down means that the answer will be no. And another thing, always swatch make-up before purchasing because I have learned there are so many colors that can be created. This practice will curb unnecessary purchases. There are sites that showcases swatches and allow users to compare with similar color of various brands. Now, I only purchase 1 of a product because some of these products can last forever, which is why I love the MAC pigments.  I stay away from products that I do not use regularly and products that I do not have an idea on the purpose. Currently, my goal is stay away from duplicates.

I want to hear your retail therapy stories. Leave a message in the comment section or e-mail pumpsandgloss@yahoo.com

Live Triumphantly,

Mix Maven

PS

I still want the MAC gift cards as a graduation gift. 😉

I want to give a birthday shout out to Mr. Mix Maven.

Reference

Ford, A. (2002). Retail Therapy Life Lessons Learned while Shopping. Maine: Conari Press.

Shopping Serendipity

Today’s title comes from a chapter in the book, Retail Therapy by Amanda Ford. The author quotes Tammy Faye Baker (Mesner) AKA Mrs. Eyelashes AKA you know all the drag queens love her:

I take Him shopping with me.

I say, “Okay, Jesus, help me find a bargain.” – Tammy Faye

So my friend, LH, called me the other day, and told me a great testimony about a recent shopping trip. She knows I enjoy shopping, the thrill of the hunt, and the ecstasy when I find a great deal on something that I need. I always feel that Divine Intervention has occurred. I like to say that the Hand of God is moving over the sales floor. I remember when I used to get all that cute stuff at GAP for church for $4.99. Oh, how I miss those days.

LH told me that she did not have a lot of money to spend on a dress for a Mother’s Day banquet. She prayed and asked God to help her find a nice dress within her price range. (Sidebar: You all know that I believe in the power of prayer.) So she and her friend got to the store at 8:45pm, uhm er a the store closed at 9pm. Fortunately, this store has good customer service. So she tried on a boatload of dresses, with no wow factor. She found THE DRESS, a lovely deep blue gown, but it did not fit will.

Laundry by Shelli Segal Twist Front Jersey Gown (Not Actual Dress) - NordstromLaundry by Shelli Segal Twist Front Jersey Gown (Not Actual Dress) - Nordstrom

She was cool. She felt that maybe this was not the store where she would find her dress. Her friend decided to get a dress for herself, and they proceeded to the register. As they stood at the register, she saw the a similar gown on a rack near the register. She looked at the size, gleefully, she said the dress was in her size. A thank you, Jesus is in order. The original price was less than $200, but she paid less than $12 for the dress. They left the store close to 10pm. Isn’t God totally awesome!!

Good thing LH is prayerful or she she would have purchased these Steve Madden silver platform pumps… cayute!!

Steve Madden Brytni Pump - Nordstrom.com

 

God really cares about us, even the mundane things. (Shopping is not mundane though ;D) We need to pray about everything because He will guide us. We have to let go, and Let God do His thing.  Check out these videos:

Albertina Walker – founder of the trailblazing gospel group Caravans that spawned Evangelist Shirley Caesar.

DeWayne Woods – Gospel singer, Former Tri-City Singer

Yolanda Adams – Gospel Tour de Force

So pray without ceasing, which does not mean always praying out loud.

Live Triumphantly,

~Mix Maven~

P.S. I will be graduating next month, and I have been praying for a MAC Cosmetics gift card. 8-)

Soul Food and Funnies

Great word from Bishop Jakes – we can’t let our past hinder us!

The sound is not in sync for the first few moments, but Pastor Hezekiah shares a great testimony that teaches a great lesson. “Faithful is Our God” is a song that you can use to speak to your situations! (If this does not play for you, double click and you will be routed to Youtube.com)

Madea is a trip!

Alright now Steve!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Lifting Our Spirits

From the Book Walk Tall – Affirmations for People of Color by Carleen Brice

No matter how bad things got, our ancestors found something to laugh at.  Humor was one of their positive coping skills.

A sense of humor can get us through some pretty tough spots, but sometimes it’s hard to find things to laugh at.  The bills aren’t paid.  The house is a mess.  We are alone, sick, or tired.  We feel like everybody is on our case.

In those times when it’s difficult to smile, we can ask for our Higher Power’s help.  We can let God fill us with enthusiasm so that we can keep going.  Think of people who “get happy” in church.  The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word entheos, which means “to inspire” and entheos was derived from theos, the Greek word for “God.”

We also can look for the twinkle in our mate’s eyes or the light in a child’s voice.  Feeling connected to others helps lift our spirits and reminds us that we’re not alone.